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Medlin v. RLC, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

March 14, 2017

ROY MEDLIN, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
RLC, INC., Defendant/Respondent, and JEREMIAH J. HAYES, et al.,

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY Honorable Jason R. Brown, Judge

          OPINION

          DANIEL E. SCOTT, J.

         In Medlin's fifth appeal involving a mechanic's lien he filed over 16 years ago, [2]he challenges the denial of his Rule 74.06(b) motion to set aside the 2008 final judgment ("Original Judgment") as void for violating due process in its disposition of his petition's fifth count.

         Timeline[3]

         In 1999, RLC subcontracted Medlin to perform work on a subdivision, then refused Medlin's $36, 397 payment request. In 2000, Medlin filed a blanket mechanic's lien statement against the subdivision and a petition to enforce it. By 2004, Medlin's Fifth Amended Petition asserted claims for a mechanic's lien (Count I), breach of contract (Count II), quantum meruit (Count III), unjust enrichment (Count IV), and fraudulent transfers (Count V).

         In 2006, the trial court ordered that Counts I-IV be court tried, severed Count V "for separate trial by jury, " then heard evidence on Counts I-IV on various dates through August 2007. Count V was never tried to a jury or court, nor was Count V evidence presented or heard during the Count I-IV bench trial.

         In June 2008, the court entered the Original Judgment, granting Medlin a Count II money judgment against RLC secured by a Count I mechanic's lien against the subdivision, and denying and dismissing all other counts, claims, counterclaims, or cross-claims. Medlin timely moved to amend, modify, or correct the judgment because Count V "was severed for separate trial and has not yet been adjudicated." After a motion hearing where Count V was discussed, Medlin's motion was overruled by operation of law and the Original Judgment became final in October 2008.

         In 2009, the court purported to amend the Original Judgment to indicate that Count V remained pending. In 2010, at Medlin's request, the court purported to amend the Original Judgment a second time.

         Medlin voluntarily dismissed Count V without prejudice in 2011 and did not reassert it within the one-year savings period.[4]

         In 2013, the trial court set aside the purported 2009 and 2010 amendments and reinstated the Original Judgment. Medlin appealed that action (Medlin II), urging in part that the Original Judgment's disposition of Count V violated due process and rendered that judgment void. Necessarily rejecting that argument, we affirmed the trial court's action (423 S.W.3d at 285), after which the Original Judgment's mechanic's lien was satisfied and released.

         Following Medlin II, Medlin filed a Rule 74.06(b) motion alleging again that the Original Judgment was void for violating due process as to Count V. The trial court denied relief, citing Medlin II and also finding that Medlin's voluntary dismissal of Count V in 2011 had extinguished that count from the case. Medlin now appeals that decision.

         Analysis

         Although we owe the trial court no deference (Medlin II, 423 S.W.3d at 283), we cannot fault either prong of its reasoning.

         First, Medlin fails to convince us that, in voluntarily dismissing Count V, he did not waive his claim of ...


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